Premiers revive the Manitoba-Nunavut road project

“Nunavut and Manitoba share more than a border”


A road that would link Manitoba and Nunavut is an idea which has been kicked around for more than 10 years, even before the two jurisidictions signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation and development in 2000.

And the road link project is still on the table, as a Sept. 1 news release from Manitoba and Nunavut shows.

Carrying out a cost-benefit study on a Manitoba-Nunavut all-weather road was on the list of their joint priorities when Nunavut premier Eva Aariak and Greg Selinger, the premier of Manitoba, met in Rankin Inlet last week.

The 1,200-kilometre road would connect into the existing Manitoba highway system at Gillam, roughly 250 km south of Churchill.

The Manitoba port town, plus Arviat, Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet would connect to the highway by feeder routes.

There would be more than 60 bridges on the planned route, all of which pushes estimates of the project’s cost to around $1.2 billion.

So ahead, Nunavut and Manitoba will have to secure federal money to get the road built.

In the meantime, the GN and Manitoba have been trying to score money from Ottawa to pay for a series of other studies which have to be completed before construction begins.

Those route studies, feasibility studies and environmental assessments could take as many as four to five years to complete.

Other priorities cited in the Sept. 1 news release include working on:

• Health, including opportunities for enhanced services and improved patient care through collaboration between the Nunavut’s department of health and social services and the Churchill Regional Health Authority;

• Renewable energy;

• Economic growth, through co-operation, consultation, joint tourism development and marketing projects; and,

• Exchange opportunities, in areas of culture, education, and sporting activities.

“Nunavut and Manitoba share more than a border,” said Aariak. “We share family, cultural, trade, and transportation ties, as well as six Memoranda of Understanding in areas such as energy, tourism, and community economic development.”

In Rankin Inlet, Selinger also invited Aariak to Manitoba’s “Arctic Gateway Summit,” called “Northern Directions,” which will take place in Winnipeg Nov. 8 to 10.

“Manitoba’s goal in hosting the summit is to bring together public, private and non-governmental stakeholders to collaborate in exploring the emerging opportunities in the Arctic region,” Selinger said in the news release.

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